Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Best Week of My Mission!

Dear Familia and Friends,

1.  We have been teaching Bettina for months now, since before I came and up until a few weeks ago she was progressing just very slowly.  Then the last few weeks her progression has been incredible and we have literally been watching her countenance change, her entire life change and her confidence grow.  It has been the most amazing experience to actually see someone compltely be changed by the gospel.  Well, last week we had a very intense law of chastity lesson because her boyfriend is coming this week to visit from Guadelupe.  Basically at the beginning of the lesson she said in no way was it going to be possible for her to keep it, and at the end of the lessson she had changed and said, "I dont know how it's going to be possible, but I know God can do miracles."  Then that Sunday, we called her to go to church and she said she couldnt come because she had other things she needed to do.  We were devastated because we thought that was her sign of not being really dedicated to wanting to do everything she could so God could help her keep this commandment.  We had one more lesson with her on Thursday, the last before Denis came in town.  The morning we were going to teach her we talked and talked about what we should do, what we should talk about, how we could help her and what to do if she said she couldnt keep the law of chastity again.  So we prayed at the end and asked to know what to do, and we said we would ask Soeur Babin (a member who has been teaching Bettina with us) for advice.  Right before the RDV Soeur Babin came and we asked her for her advice.  She said awesome things and ultimately her counsel was, "when people feel restricted to keep and do certain things it will feel like a restriction.  You already were really bold with her, now just show her a lot of love.  When they choose to do things for themselves the commandment will become liberating."  And then Bettina showed up.  We had planned a whole other lesson on law of chastity and felt suddenly that we shouldnt even mention it this lesson.  So we started the lesson, not knowing now what to teach her.  So we started by saying how we notice a new light in her eyes and a new glow and that Denis will notice that when he comes.  She said, "I know, I hope he notices it too."  She then went on to say that when Denis comes she wants to tell him all about the Family Proclamation and about her new vision of an eternal family and a family rooted in gospel principles.  She also just told us, "and Im going to fast to know how to present it to him Saturday to Sunday" and we asked if she wanted a priesthood blessing for extra strength and she said "yes and ill come early to church to get it." It was amazing, she has become a different person.  She asked if she could have one last RDV with us before Soeur Dawson leaves, so we are seeing her for the last time tomorrow before she sees Denis.  Bettina is planning to get baptized still in December because she had a spiritual experience she needs to wait until then.

2.  We met Alejandra again!  She's amazing as ever and now we should be seeing her three times a week.  We started the lesson, it's been about 10 weeks since we were able to see her for the first time.  Seriously, she is Soeur Dawson's clone, she has such a similar background, it's not normal.  We started the lesson and asked if she had a chance to start the Book of Mormon since we saw her so long ago.  She said, "yes, but it was really confusing for me and I didnt get it very well."  She then went on to give a really good summary of Lehi and his family and nEPHI going back to get the plates, basically she had retained everything really well.  We promised her in taking the lessons and keeping the commitments we gave her that her life would change and she would be able to receive personal direction for her life from Heavenly Father.  We then talked about how in our lessons she would recognize Heavenly Father confirming the things we taught were true by the holy ghost. She said, "that's so crazy I was just asking my roommate about what the holy ghost is the other day."  Basically, she is awesome.  We are supposed to see her on Tuesday night, the very last lesson Soeur Dawson will teach as a missionary.

3.  We passed by Paola and Victoria's house (the ones we found by a miracle that was a headquarter referral), we havent been able to get in contact with them for a few weeks so we tried passing by and they were home!  We went i nand said, "we know that a lot has happpened recently for you and we havent been able to really teach you our beliefs yet and before Soeur Dawson left we wanted to tell what we really do as missionaries again."  Paola only speaks spanish, her sister Victoria speaks english and translates for us.  She said, "yeah, paola was asking the other day what's the difference between your church and the catholic church?"  So we said that's a great question and that's lesson one.  So, we started with the Joseph Smith story.  At the end we testified we know these things are true.  Then Soeur Dawson started testifying that this gospel would change her life forever, it was super powerful and it was so amazing because the entire lesson Victoria had been translating, Paola speaks zero english. I say "how are you?" and she looks at Victoria to translate.  When Soeur Dawson was speaking in english testifying how much joy this would bring her, Paola looked at Victoria and said in spanish, "stop translating, I can understand everything she is saying in english."  It was the gift of tongues, it was amazing.  We are supposed to see them again tomorrow too.

4.  Maria is a woman Marie Poznanski and I found porting while she was doing her minis mission with me.  We had our second lesson with her last week and after we did Joseph Smith story she said, "you know I havent been baptized yet and I know it's something really important.  So we fixed a baptismal date with her for the aug. 25!  Now her sister is an ami in progress too and she has two sons eight and nine who havent been baptized yet and her one son came and participated in the lesson we taught her last night.  She's amazing and it's such a miracle because the first RDV we had with her we brought a member who lives in the building over, Maria opened the door and they embraced, Soeur Ya said, "Ma fille!"  Apparently they were friends before but both had moved and didnt realize they now lived right next to each other.  Soeur Ya said she had had an impression to give her a Book of Mormon but never had.  We went in to teach the first lesson and Maria pulls out a Book of Mormon and said she already teaches her kids principles and stories from the Book of Mormon, but had never met with the missionaries or anything.  Anyways, she is amazing.  We just taught her part of the Plan of Salvation and it was so powerful.  Everytime we go teach her she starts crying.  It is amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ literally blesses families now and for eternity.

So, all in all it was an amazing week.  My testimony has grown immensely that missionary work has absolutely nothing to do with our abilities at all, it is literally the Lord's work and it is only the Holy Ghost that can convert, and the Holy Ghost works when people's hearts are prepared to receive the message.  And when all those things work, it is absolutely incredible to watch people accept the gospel in their lives.  If everyone could understand the incredible joy they can have as a family, I am one hundred percent sure that everyone and their dog would listen.  but whether they listen or not, it doesn't change the fact that it is true, and I know it's true.

Soeur Dawson and I were talking because we have probably taught lesson number one, the restoration about one hundred and fifty times within the last two transfers.  We have only taught very few of any other lesson together, and we know it's not by chance.  We have testified so many times of the Restoration of Christ's church on the earth. Yesterday in church, Soeur Dawson gave her last testimony in the Versailles ward and said, "I can now say with conviction that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  I couldnt say it with conviction before, but I can now.  I know it's true."  

I love you all and hope you have a great week!  Please pray for me this week, the week goal for both Soeur Dawson and I is "make it out alive" haha.  No, it will be good. :)  And please pray for Soeur Dawson this week going home.   Thank you!  Love you!
Soeur Chard

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